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CSU wins tough road battle against Montana in final non-conference play

In their final game of non-conference play, the CSU women’s basketball team defeated the Montana Grizzlies, 63-49

Ellen Nystrom led all scorers with 27 points, 20 of which came in the second half. Continuing her recent stretch of offensive prowess, Callie Kaiser scored 13 points. Her 11 first quarter points aided the Rams some wiggle room coming out of the gate. Nystrom and Kaiser added seven and six rebounds, respectively, leading the team with their all-around performance. No other Ram scored more than six points.

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Nystrom’s ability to get to the charity stripe proved beneficial for a Rams team that struggled in that category otherwise. She converted 9-of-10 opportunities from the stripe while the rest of the team made just 2-of-4.

Montana was able to stick around for most of the game in large part to their ability to draw fouls and get the Rams in foul trouble. Elin Gustavsson fouled out in the fourth quarter and three other Rams had at least three fouls. Although they got to free throw line 21 times, the Grizzlies made just 11 of their attempts.

“Once again it’s a team that’s a tough matchup,” head coach Ryun Williams said. “There’s basically five quick, little guards. They would run down the long rebounds and we would foul them. We just needed to clean it up and not foul so much. We were creating a lot of their offense for them.”

Despite the victory, there were multiple instances when the team went cold from the field. Over the final six minutes of the first half, the Rams shot just 1-for-9, resulting in a lowly nine second quarter points. The Rams finished the game on a similar note, making just one of their final eight shots from the field.

The Grizzlies outrebounded the Rams, 41-29 including a 15-8 advantage on the offensive glass. Montana converted that into 21 second chance points compared to just five for the Rams.

“I didn’t like the fact that we gave up a lot of (offensive) boards,” Williams said. “We got beat 41-29 on the glass, I think 15 o-boards we gave up. But you’ve gotta give Montana credit. The big thing I wrote on the board before the game was ‘long rebounds, get in the chase’. Even when we were they were quicker to the ball.”

CSU’s ability to create turnovers and score in transition was evident once again against Montana, as they converted 14 turnovers into 16 points.

“I thought our kids showed great poise,” Williams said. “We didn’t turn it over, got great shots. It was a very business-like approach tonight. I’m proud of the ladies.”

The win marks the third consecutive win for the Rams as they close out conference play. The team goes on an eight-day holiday break before traveling to UNLV on Dec. 29 to begin conference play against the Rebels.

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Collegian sports reporter Colin Barnard can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ColinBarnard_

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